May 27, 2024

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CD review: Steve Houben & Greg Houben – 7 / 7 (Houben & Son) 2020: Video, CD cover

With ‘Houben and Son’, Steve and Greg Houben lift the lid on their family craft and blow together for the first time. A jazz record that is also a testament to the relationship between father and son and the transmission of heritage and knowledge.

European fans need no introduction to Steve Houben, a jazzman with an impressive musical career (he has played alongside legendary artists such as Chet Baker, Bill Frisel, Clark Terry, Lee Konitz and Richie Beirach). His noted discography includes a few pearls in the Igloo catalogue, notably “HLM”, “Blue Circonstances”, “Houben + Strings” and “Comptines”.

His son Greg Houben is an artist of multiple facets that is recognised as a jazzman (with 3 albums for Igloo, “Après un rêve” with the soprano Julie Mossay, “How Deep is the Ocean” with his trio and “Bees and Bumblesbees” with Fabian Fiorini). But he also made a notable excursion into chanson with the release of the album “Un belge à Rio/A Belgian in Rio”. Greg is also involved in several theatre projects and shows a deep love for words and the art of speaking. It’s no accident that he chose to play the trumpet, an instrument that is close to the human voice by the principle of lips vibrating on the mouthpiece.

And then in September 2018, father and son came together for the first time around a shared repertoire at the Marni Jazz Festival, dedicated to the trumpet. They then toured at a series of locations in Belgium with this quintet before recording their first joint album under the name “Houben and Son”.

“7/7″ features ten compositions (signed by Greg, Steve and also Fabian Fiorini, Greg’s long-time accomplice). It is the story of the Houben family business, the relationship of a father and a son, the passing of experience, the transmission of heritage, knowledge and a taste for music, including that of beautiful melody, harmony, swing and words (they both put their voices on “Homeboy”) that can be found throughout this album.

1. Camel Ride (6:06)
2. Someone Is Missing (5:39)
3. Free Hand (5:17)
4. Circular Chant (4:47)
5. Cali (4:22)
6. The Fall (6:57)
7. Happy-Culture (4:07)
8. The Benefit of the Doubt (5:09)
9. Horta (5:08)
10. Homeboy (3:13)

Steve Houben: alto sax, flute (8), vocal (10)
Greg Houben: trumpet, vocal (10)
Pascal Mohy: piano
Cédric Raymond: double bass
James Williams: drums (sur scène : Lionel Beuvens)

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